Hadley Dike, Spring

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mdmattin
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Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by mdmattin » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:31 pm

Oil on linen panel, 9" x 12".
I started this last spring, recently revisited it and pulled it together to enter in the Friends of the Chicopee Public Library show.

hadley dike, spring.jpg
hadley dike, spring.jpg (128.35 KiB) Viewed 467 times
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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Rebecca » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:58 pm

Matthew,
There's all kinds of good stuff going on in this painting!
I especially appreciate the dark lines anchoring vertical(ish) planes, the thoughtful scale shift to marks in water ripples and foreground grass, and the relaxed clouds that settle toward level at the horizon, and the clean sparkle in the paint touches. These all give a sense of dimension and a special quality of light. Oh, and I see perpendicular relationships between lit and shade aspects of the near tree, which points to the sun. Good stuff.
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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by mdmattin » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:51 am

Hey Rebecca,
Thank you! You see some things I didn't see, like the perpendicular relationships between light and shade in the tree. The light was an interesting problem - I had to use some invention, because the actual light was very flat, the day being somewhat overcast with the sun low and almost directly behind me. In real life this created a wonderful "magic time" glow, but in the painting it lacked form. I ended up placing the sun in the upper left, which in this case would have been to my north, and thus not possible even at high noon.
The compositional aspect of this that intrigued me was the interlocking elongated twisting triangular shapes, forming a curvy X in the middle and spawning subsidiary nexuses in the rest of the picture.
I'm currently debating whether to add any other touches. Parts of the trees seem a bit flat, and the distant houses could be better defined. But I could easily overdo it and kill the feeling.
Maybe I should try it in Photoshop first.
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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Rebecca » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:23 pm

Photoshop is a good idea. Too bad analog art doesn't let us command z.

While photoshopping, try horizontalizing abstraction in distant things, which in my opinion for this painting is more important than form details.

There is one spot that I keep trying to account for in this painting. It's the rightmost intersection between the earthy bank and water where there is a dark line. The line represents a smooth continuous stretch which is less descriptive than the rest of the bank. I keep wanting more landform expression there, like a few overlapping erosion cuts downward to the water. With that adjustment, the dark line of the water edge would need reshaping by nicking-in at more horizontal angles (lower than the ~20º of the current line). Not much. Just a clue about this unresolved yet closest part of the bank.
And on that theme, I don't see enough of a pattern to the dark line at the water's edge. Normally, dark lines define several features at once in scenes. It varies. The trees at the right against the levee have a well described and shapely dark line -- with its varying width, it tells me about foliage overhang, plus the density of the growth behind. Water edge lines follow patterns, too. There are various causes, including overhang (seen in the far left), but other forces could be in play with water edges. Sometimes it's reflection, darkness of transparency along calm edges, wet soil above, debris shadows, obstruction of view such as from overlapping rocks or ripples, and more. The line needs to expand and contract, given appropriate angles at its top and bottom edges in accord with shifting causes along its sinuosity, all the while conforming to change by perspective. It doesn't need to be labored over -- just thought through, as it is an important anchor in the scene. Sigh...The trouble with thinking hard on a tract of paint is, it can grow bigger with adjustments, which would disconnect it from the scene. :P

I apologize if this is too much unsolicited comment. Normally I ask first.
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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by mdmattin » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:19 pm

Rebecca wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:23 pm
I apologize if this is too much unsolicited comment. Normally I ask first.
No, your comments are most welcome! I was kind of hinting around in hopes of eliciting some in my last post.
You are right about the water line - I think I threw that in at the end of a session when I realized it needed something but I wasn't sure what. Elaborating on the bank and the waterline will entail more invention based on the fictional light angle - that's probably why I was stuck for how to handle it.
It may turn that that is what is what the painting needs, rather than further elaboration in the trees.

I'm just now taking a break from another painting where I'm facing the same essential issue - identifying the actual problem and solving it, rather than assuming that the problem is something obvious, like missing details.
Rebecca wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:23 pm
Too bad analog art doesn't let us command z.
I made up a little ditty about that:

Erasing leaves a residue,
Scraping is a kind of mark.
In art, as life,
There's no "undo"-
We must move forward, like the shark.

Matthew

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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Rebecca » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:47 pm

mdmattin wrote:I'm just now taking a break from another painting where I'm facing the same essential issue - identifying the actual problem and solving it, rather than assuming that the problem is something obvious, like missing details.
I have a thought on this. I found students trying to add details or blend them out, but without satisfaction. Their paintings could be settled by defining intersections between planes or forms. Intersections usually address darkness that results from partial to cave-like enclosures. Enclosures can be quite open, yet they do lower in value. For an example, hinge the sides of your hands together in a flat open book pose approximating 180º, thumbs outward, palms up. Watch the change to illumination over each hand as you rock the book closed, reducing the angle between hands. Test this under different lighting, from diffuse to stark sunlight. In weak diffuse light, you will see darkening with the slightest enclosure, even anything less than 180º between your hands. Check the shift in value on approach to the seam between hands. That seam is a line. As the seam (a trough) turns inward, it develops cave-like enclosure. Light bounces inside with increasingly less reflection back to your eye. In stark sunlight, enclosure may only be noticed in the shade zone. In either case, the line at the joint between your hands entraps the light in a varying and distinctive manner. Imagine distilling that essence to line alone. If possessing tonal graduation, the line can include non-cave enclosure tone. The artist gets to set the cutoff. That line on its own explains almost everything about non-depicted areas beyond it: It thrusts its intention well beyond itself, into otherwise undescribed territory. The line's varying width with tonal taper is potently important. To grok it and show it as grokked is to have power over both summary and completion. It is a valuable key to whipping out a sketch or finishing a painting.
mdmattin wrote:
Rebecca wrote: Too bad analog art doesn't let us command z.
I made up a little ditty about that:

Erasing leaves a residue,
Scraping is a kind of mark.
In art, as life,
There's no "undo"-
We must move forward, like the shark.
That cheered me up. :)
Last edited by Rebecca on Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Andre Jute » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:09 am

Rebecca wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:47 pm
Erasing leaves a residue,
Scraping is a kind of mark.
In art, as life,
There's no "undo"-
We must move forward, like the shark.
That cheered me up. :)[/quote]

Me too. Heh-heh. Certainly funnier than having a 15ml tube of M Graham Burnt Sienna burst in my hand whilst trying to remove the cap.

I ordered a bottle of "Pencil Blend" by Zest-it to make up an order to the postage-free total, and noticed that the makers promise that it "leaves no residue".

You two are pretty far along in a fruitful discussion, but I would take a different view, or two actually.

Late in life Homer Winslow painted some watercolours in which, for instance, a stand of trees was just another flat plane, but -- borderline case -- Matthew's painting as it stands is already too complicated for such a simplifying, near-abstract treatment. I mention it as a possibility, one that I haven't fully considered. One example I'm thinking of was recently sold at Menconi + Schoelkopf. Adirondak, Man and Canoe, 1892 - Winslow Homer Watercolor on paper

What I would do if it were my painting: I'd add detail, principally to the trees, by negative painting, that is, by adding the shadows of leaves by a darker colour, picked up from a stretch of graduated mix between blue and yellow on the palette, and do the minimum before considering overnight whether anything else is needed.

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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Harry » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:55 pm

Really nice. You have truly captured the essence of the place in a way no photograph could. Your painting makes me want to visit the place and sets off in me a yearning for a quieter life in the country.

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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Akolten » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:14 pm

Awesome work, you're very talented!
Last edited by Akolten on Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by mdmattin » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:51 am

Thank you Harry and Akolten, and welcome to the Sketching Forum!
Rebecca and Andre, thank you for your suggestions.

Here it is all framed up and ready to drop off for the show:
Hadley Dike Framed sm.jpg
Hadley Dike Framed sm.jpg (153.14 KiB) Viewed 271 times
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Re: Hadley Dike, Spring

Post by Andre Jute » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:05 pm

A suitable frame, rather than delimiting a view, really sets it up as art, as the artist vision.

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